1954:  Life report on illiteracy concludes children’s books are boring. Publishers Houghton Mifflin compile list of 348 key words for 1st-graders. Reducing list to 250,  they ask Theodor Geisel (our hero, the self-styled Dr Seuss), to “bring back a book children can’t put down”. 9 months later, Seuss, using only 236, returns with The Cat in the Hat.